Essential Google Analytics Metrics for Ecommerce Brands

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Marketers have a bad habit of relying on vanity metrics in their reporting. These are data points that don’t really illustrate how the business is doing. As a whole, people want to hear good news report improvements in order to secure more funding. Unfortunately, ignoring these vanity metrics can have dangerous implications to your business down the road.  

If you’re ready to do a deep dive into the real health of your eCommerce website, then you need to throw away your vanity metrics and focus on data that provides answers. Check out these 14 essential Google Analytics metrics to review your eCommerce website and truly understand where you need to improve.

1) New Visitor Conversion Rate

Marketers love to point to new visitors to show how effective their top-funnel traffic efforts are, but quantity doesn’t always equal quality. Analyze your new visitor conversion rates to see how many people buy from your brand on the first visit. In particular, sort this information by medium to determine which marketing channels are providing the highest-quality new traffic.

2) Cost Per Acquisition

How much do you have to spend on marketing to your customers before they buy? Are some channels better at attracting customers for less? If possible, divide your data by new and returning customers to learn the cost of selling to your first-time customers versus loyal shoppers.

3) Exit Pages

Improving conversion rates starts with understanding where customers bounce. Analyze your exit pages to see where in the cart customers are giving up or deciding not to buy. This is where you can start optimizing or simplifying to streamline the checkout process.

4) Completed Goals  

Google Analytics allows brands to set up unique goals that track microinteractions and customer behavior. Play with this option and create goals related to your size charts, shipping tools, page behavior, and other non-purchase conversion options.

5) Goal Conversion Rate

Microinteractions and improvements to site content can lead to conversions. This metric tracks the conversion rate of customers who complete specific goals. If you launch a tool meant to improve the buyer’s journey, you can prove its value by setting a goal and then tracking conversions related to it.  

6) On-Site Search

On-Site search refers to the terms people type into your search bar to navigate your site. Customers might use it if they don’t want to navigate your pages or can’t find what they want.

Check to make sure your tool isn’t overly sensitive, making it hard for customers to find what they want. For example, if a customer misspells “Caribbean,” your site should suggest a correction instead of reporting empty search results.    

Pro Tip: if one of your main exit pages is a “No results found,” from your on-site search, then you might need to improve your search API.

7) Search Console Analytics

With the help of Google Webmaster Tools, you can set up Search Console Analytics within Google. This tool better helps you understand your performance in organic search. With this option, you can see how your customers view your brand and what drives them to click. This tool can answer questions related to organic bounce rate and other performance problems.

8) Pages Per Session

Pages per session reports the number of pages your customers click on during their time on your website. While this can be considered a vanity metric on its own, breaking down the information by channel or new customers can provide deeper insight into user behavior.

Comparing how new customers view your website versus people who are already familiar with your navigation can help you find ways to streamline your display and increase its effectiveness.  

9) Average Session Duration

Session duration is typically used with pages per session to evaluate the quality of your traffic to see if your site visitors are sticking around. However, it can also be a key metric if you’re A/B testing changes to your website. For example, eCommerce brands that are working to make their product pages more engaging could track this metric to see if customers spend more time interacting with the content.

10) Assisted Conversions

Most eCommerce brands rely on multiple marketing channels to convert customers. A shopper might bounce on the first visit and then convert after seeing an ad. By studying the customer’s path to purchase and assisted conversions, you can see how many times customers need to interact with your brand before they buy. You might find that some of your marketing channels provide mid-funnel assistance and attribution that you never realized.

11) Time Lag

This metric highlights how long customers take between their first visit and their conversion. Some websites might have low time lags where customers buy within a few minutes or hours, while other brands might wait days before customers return to buy. This means the marketing materials you show today could lead to conversions a week from now, and knowing your time lag can help you improve attribution.

12) Customer Lifetime Value

The lifetime value metric is new tool for Google Analytics that calculates the long-term value of customers acquired through different channels. For example, if you can bring a new customer back five times per year, then their value is five times their initiate purchase.

Some marketers might be wary of this data and dismiss it as a vanity metric, but it can be used to emphasize how much revenue is at stake from ignoring repeat business.

13) Speed Suggestions

Google Analytics highlights some of your highest-trafficked pages and identifies which ones need speed improvements. This metric shows your average load time and scores it based on effectiveness. Your site speed has a significant impact on your marketing effectiveness and business, so it’s worth monitoring and improving.

14) Product Performance

Product performance might seem obvious for marketers who are in-tune with the businesses they work for, but Google Analytics can help paint a clearer picture. Consider drilling down product performance by channel to see what kind of products they sell. You might discover that some channels sell different products because they reach different audiences.

These Google Analytics metrics are meant to start a bigger discussion about the health of your website and marketing goals. As long as your team members keep asking questions and try to dig deeper, you can keep finding ways to improve your business.  

If your Google Analytics implementation has gaps, or if you are looking for new ways to use data to more effectively target your customers, contact us to learn how we can help.

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